The one species Congress' new animal caucus is truly neglecting, and 5 ways it can help.

As the health care debate continues to rage, conflict ramps up in Syria, and tensions escalate in North Korea, a new congressional caucus is finally taking a bold, bipartisan stand on an issue of tremendous urgency.

USA Today reported that members of both parties have decided to cast politics aside and come together to support the heretofore controversial cause of being nicer to puppies, kittens, and ponies.  

Awwwwwwww. Photo via iStock.


"Members of Congress are realizing that protecting animals is not just the right thing to do, it's also developing to become potent politically," Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) told the paper.

Among the bipartisan bills being considered by the newly formed Congressional Animal Protection Caucus: a bill that bans most private possession of big cats (lions, tigers, etc.), one that bans the sale of dogs and cats for human consumption, and one that bans the testing of cosmetics on rabbits, mice, and other animals.  

These are all good ideas, and people certainly love animals, making the issues likely political winners.

Still, there's one animal that didn't make the group's list — a species that Congress can't seem to agree needs protecting:

Human beings.

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images.

There are over 320 million human beings in the United States and over 7 billion in the world. Many live in unimaginable conditions, struggling to find food, maintain shelter, and survive in hostile environments. For a caucus ostensibly devoted to animal welfare, leaving this species off its list seems an incredible oversight.

Here are a few ways the caucus could add the large primate to its agenda.

1. A bill that would make it easier for doctors to treat human beings when they're sick.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Over 28 million human beings in the United States don't have health insurance, without which many of the omnivorous great apes fall ill and die. What's more, Congress recently considered legislation that would have taken it away from 24 million more of them.

Perhaps the caucus can look into this.

2. A bill to help feed human beings who have trouble feeding themselves.

Photo by Gregg Newton/Getty Images.

Last year, members of Congress proposed slashing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (aka food stamps), which provides nutrition to members of the bipedal hominid species who might otherwise go hungry.

If the bipartisan group is truly invested in easing the suffering of creatures large and small, expanding, rather than contracting, the species' access to sources of food is a great place to start.

3. A bill that would allow human females to access reproductive medical care.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

On April 13, 2017, President Trump signed a bill allowing states to deny funds to organizations that treat diseases specific to human beings with uteri and cervixes and help them decide whether and when to reproduce.

The caucus might want to consider making it easier for these anthropoid females to not get cancer and make these decisions for themselves, which could ultimately boost their survival rate.

4. A bill that prevents law enforcement officials from abusing human beings.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images.

In the last several years, dozens of videos depicting the graphic abuse of human beings by police officers have gone viral. In response, the Justice Department and local police departments launched a series of internal reviews — which Attorney General Jeff Sessions is considering suspending, claiming they "reduce morale."

If the caucus is indeed considering a national animal cruelty bill, they should at least add humans to the list of species whose abuse will be penalized, no matter the status or uniform of the person doing the abusing.  

5. A bill that would let humans move from a country where they're being killed in large numbers by other humans to one where they're safe.

Photo by Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images.

Six years ago, the Syrian government began exterminating members of the species with bombs and poison gas, sending millions stampeding in the direction of the border. Yet much of the world remains surprisingly unconcerned about the hordes of human beings fleeing certain death. In fact, President Trump recently signed an executive order preventing them from settling in the United States.

The caucus should consider passing some sort of legislation that not only overturns this order, but brings more members of the threatened species here to live in safety.

Protecting human beings isn't as much of a slam dunk political winner as, say, laws that require feeding horses aged ribeye and giving every puppy a flower crown.

But hey, as long as Congress is saving animals, might as well give it a shot!

Both together! Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Stagecoach.

'Cause unlike dogs, cats, hyenas, cockatiels, and white Bengal tigers, human beings vote.

Motherhood is a journey unlike any other, and one that is nearly impossible to prepare for. No matter how many parenting books you read, how many people you talk to, how many articles you peruse before having kids, your children will emerge as completely unique creatures who impact your world in ways you could never have anticipated.

Those of us who have been parenting for a while have some wisdom to share from experience. Not that older moms know everything, of course, but hindsight can offer some perspective that's hard to find when you're in the thick of early motherhood.

Upworthy asked our readers who are moms what they wish they could tell their younger selves about motherhood, and the responses were both honest and wholesome. Here's what they said:

Lighten up. Don't sweat the small stuff.

One of the most common responses was to stop worrying about the little things so much, try to be present with your kids, and enjoy the time you have with them:

"Relax and enjoy them. If your house is a mess, so be it. Stay in the moment as they are temporary..more so than you think, sometimes. We lost our beautiful boy to cancer 15+yrs ago. I loved him more than life itself..💔 "- Janet

"Don't worry about the dishes, laundry and other chores. Read the kids another book. Go outside and make a mud pie. Throw the baseball around a little longer. Color another picture. Take more pictures and make sure you are in the pictures too! My babies are 19 and 17 and I would give anything to relive an ordinary Saturday from 15 years ago." - Emma H.

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True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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